vCenter Operations Gets a Facelift

VMware announced today at VMworld Europe the vCenter Operations Management Suite. Those of us who are familiar with the product set will see lots of significant changes including the addition of vCenter Infrastructure Navigator 1.0 and a new user interface. vCenter Ops Suite delivers an integrated performance capacity and configuration management solution for your vSphere environment. You are able to continuously monitor for compliance and health. This release is the first integrated suite and allows seamless upgrades between Standard(Ops Manager Only), Advanced(includes Chargeback), and Enterprise(includes Configuration Management). The suite is scheduled to be available for deployment in Late 2011 or Early 2012.

vCenter helps a admin follow what is being termed as the Automate Cloud Operations Workflow. The ability to see a health degradation, do a Root Cause Analysis, and then use the tool to determine why that cause may exist. With performance, capacity, and change management built in, an admin can quickly remediate the problem and plan for future growth or problems.
The most significant enhancement that will be seen immediately is the new user interface.  With a comprehensive dashboard that shows end to end visibility into your virtual infrastructure.  The UI is divided into three categories, Health, Risk, and Efficiency.  With the release of vSphere 5 and vRAM restrictions the efficiency category could have significant benefits for larger enterprises looking to maintain the best use of their hardware.

In the health side, new smart alerts will provide for proactive alerts for early warning on building issues.  This functionality is from the learning behavior of vCenter Operations, over time the tool learns the “normal” behavior and will alert to changes from that.  The advanced and Enterprise version also now include the Chargeback Manager 2.0.  While most companies are not actively using chargeback between departments, the ability to show where and how resources are being used is invaluable for IT budgets.  If a HR application is consuming large memory needs for a database and an upgrade is planned the ability to show that X% is being used by each department can quick facilitate not only upgrades but also increase efficiency and less requests for over sized systems.

The suite offers many new features that are listed below:

  • Application Dependency Mapping.  This ability to show how virtual machines work together and confirm that all components are protected will aid in eliminating human error.  The protection is from the integration with Site Recovery Manager 5 and Infrastructure Navigator.  vCIN is deployed as a single virtual appliance with a PostGres DB.  It does require vCenter 5.0 with the web client.
  • Change Events Correlated with Performance.  vCenter Configuration Manager is now integrated in the suite and operations could now quickly understand and remediate performance issues that came from a configuration change.
  • Compliance Checking.  This is only available in the Enterprise edition but will allow an admin to confirm compliance and remediate compliance issues through host profiles.
Overall a great improvement to an already handy product.  We have found that we rarely if ever deploy a vSphere environment without adding vCenter Operations Advanced and with the release of the Suite this is only destined to become even more critical.


2 thoughts on “vCenter Operations Gets a Facelift

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  1. How about a features comparison list??

    Using the CURRENT std/ent features in one list, and FUTURE std/ent features in another list…

    Thank you, Tom

    1. I would expect we will see that from VMware really soon. If not I will put one together once I have the release candidate for the new version. Most of my info was from the Early Access Program and features tend to change before release. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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